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JPR Live Session: Steven Dayvid McKellar

Steven Dayvid McKellar first earned attention as the founder, lead singer singer and principal songwriter of Civil Twilight. The South African band released a trio of albums; their last (Story of an Immigrant) became a favorite here at JPR, and when they joined us in the studio in 2016 for a JPR Live Session, little did we know that the band was soon to go on hiatus.

Now almost four years down the road, McKellar has released ETHIO, his official debut solo album. During the time since Civil Twilight hit pause, the singer and songwriter spent time in Paris and in Nashville, slowly crafting a sound that is markedly different than the jangly hook-filled pop-rock of his former band. As the months became years, McKellar kept a growing assortment of lyrical and music ideas on Post-It notes stuck to his wall, and by the time he was ready to start crafting ETHIO, he jokes that the wall was beginning to look like something you'd see in a crime drama.

McKellar surveyed what he'd crafted, and says, "I saw a neighborhood -- eight individuals, young and old, from all walks of life, seemingly unrelated yet tied together by a mutual frustration, alienation, disappointment, dashed expectations and broken promises. And I was right there among them."

He joined us from his home in Nashville for our first JPR Live (from afar) Session and shared a few tunes from ETHIO seated at his piano.


JPR Live Sessions are recorded with Audix microphones. Located in Wilsonville, Oregon, Audix designs, engineers, and manufactures high performing, innovative products that contribute to the advancement of the professional audio industry.

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As FM Network Program Director and Music Director, Eric oversees many aspects of JPR's broadcast day. He still hosts the occasional Open Air or classical music shift, and is the driving force behind JPR Live Sessions - our popular series of live in-studio music performances and interviews.